Chiappa Rhino Revolvers

chiappa rhinoChiappa Firearms was showing off their new series of Rhino revolvers at the 2010 SHOT Show.  When you see the Rhino for the first time, you know that it is definitely a different revolver than what you have known previously.

The Rhino’s barrel is at the bottom, no the top, of the frame.  The cartridge in the bottom of the cylinder is the one that fires.  This design is supposed to reduce muzzle flip and enhance shooter comfort.

Four models of Chiappa were shown: a 2” DAO, 4”, 5” and 6”.  All models except the 2” have a Picatinny rail under the barrel for a white light or laser attachment.  All models except the 2” also have pinned front sights and adjustable rear sights.  The 2” Rhino has fixed sights.  All are chambered in .357 Magnum.

I have a few concerns about the Rhino.

First, the exposed “hammer” isn’t really a hammer.  It is used to manually cock the internal hammer into single action mode.  After you pull the “hammer” back,  it then falls back into the “down” position.  There is no way to know the gun is cocked and in single action mode.

chiappa rhino revolverSecond, there is not a decocking lever.  To decock the gun, you have to pull the trigger.  According to the Chiappa rep, you can hold the exposed “hammer” back, pull the trigger and then lower the exposed hammer as you might on another single action revolver.  But, the exposed “hammer” isn’t THE hammer. So I don’t know if this is a safe, or even effective, method of decocking the revolver once it is cocked.

Lastly, the trigger and cylinders were very stiff.  This is likely due to the staff using early samples.  However, I do not understand why you would bring less than your best product to a trade show.  I hope that the production models will be smoother.

Retail runs from “about $750” to “about $950” depending on the model.  Chiappa believes they will begin shipping later this year.

This video is of the 2″ Chippa Rhino revolver chambered in .357 Magnum being fired.  The lack of muzzle flip is pretty impressive, as is the fireball that a short barrel .357 Magnum can make.

The load was the .357 Magnum Federal Classic 125 grain JHP.  Watch the target video in the upper left corner as it is fired.  Combat accuracy/speed appears to be very good.

Update: More Chiappa Rhino Information

2″ Chiappa Rhino revolver at the 2010 SHOT Show

The Chiappa Rhino revolver is now shipping to distributors, and should be hitting your dealer shelves very soon according to the Tactical Wire.  The 2″ Rhino chambered in .357 Magnum is on the trucks and rolling out, with the other Chiappa revolvers to follow in the near future.

The Rhino revolvers will be offered in both “D” and “DS” actions.  The D is a double action only action, while the DS is a double/single action.  All Chiappa Rhino revolvers will hold six rounds.

MSRP on the different models:

  • 2-and 3-inch, $749
  • 4-inch, $869
  • 5-inch, $895
  • 6-inch, $950

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Update – January 2012

Chiappa Rhino

This is the sum total of the recoil produced by the 2″ Chiappa Rhino with .357 Magnum rounds.

One of the most unusual revolvers on the market, the Chiappa Rhino, has taken another very non-traditional move by chambering the revolver in .40 S&W.

The .40-caliber version of the Rhino will be a six shooter, using full-moon clips to hold onto the rounds, since the cartridge is “rimless.”

While the .40 S&W version of the Rhino is interesting, it would have been far better to chamber the gun in 10mm.  The amazing recoil reduction achieved by the gun’s design would have been a great match with full power 10mm loads.  Additionally, the revolver could have also fired .40 S&W loads to give the shooter more flexibility.

In August 2011, Chiappa rolled out the above video showing a 9mm and .40 S&W Rhino at work on the range.

Second Update – January 2012

The Chiappa Rhino was in prominent display at the 2012 SHOT Show, including the new model chambered in .40 S&W.  Here are a few photos of what was on hand.

Chiappa Rhino .40 S&W

Chiappa Rhino .40 S&W

Chiappa Rhino

Chiappa Rhino

Something I thought was interesting was the pink grip sleeve on this Rhino revolver.  I was not able to obtain information from Chiappa if grip sleeves will be an option on their revolvers going forward.

Chiappa Rhino pink

Update – March 2012

The Chiappa Rhino is now available in the 9×21 cartridge.  This brings the total number of cartridges the Rhino is chambered for to three: the .357 Magnum and .40 S&W being the other two.

Chiappa Rhino

A rimless cartridge, the 9×21 may seem like an odd chambering in this revolver. However, the 9×21 makes sense when you take a closer look.

Chiappa is an Italian company.  Certain countries, including Italy, ban the possession of 9mm Parabellum (9×19) by civilians.  The 9×21 was developed by IMI as a way around these arbitrary bans.  So, if Chiappa wants to sell the Rhino in a 9mm cartridge in certain countries, they have to chamber the revolver in 9×21.

Oddly, the Rhino is available for more rimless cartridges than for traditional revolver rounds.  While I like variety and odd-ball chamberings, I would really like to see a compact Rhino in .44 Special and/or .44 Magnum.

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About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing in Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, on The Firearm Blog and at BlueSheepdog.

Comments

  1. I predict initially that there will be a lot sold. To Hollywood movie/TV property departments.

    We’ll be seeing more Rhinos being characterized as “cop killer” handguns, totally invisible to X-ray machines, bringing down space shuttles and firing 25 rounds without a reload.

    Of course someone at the production companies could hire someone to keep the writers straight with only facts about firearms but then Law & Order would lose half their plot lines.

  2. It’s about time for something really new in revolvers…

    …but that there’s some copmplex internals.

  3. IMO, I don’t regard the cocking mechanism as much more dangerous than a Glock or similar auto. No safety device will prevent idiocy. For anti-litigation purposes, perhaps Chiappa can add a manual safety or cocking indicator.

    I hope to buy a 2″ model as soon as finances allow.

  4. Knock the Single-action crap off of the small one, and give me a good price, and I’ll take one!

  5. Fugly.

  6. Don Gwinn says:

    That is just the thing for the cyborg courtesan-assassins that keep getting into my yard.

  7. Fugly.

    Protip: if you look at the logo long enough, it looks like a kitten embryo instead of a rhino in a circle.

    Also: R(h)INO? Unfortunate connotation.

  8. Dan Ortego says:

    That whole strange cocking system turns me off. I’ll stick to the S&W design. I’m getting too set in my ways. Damn age thing will eventually get to all of us I suppose.
    Regards,

  9. Love at first sight! Got to have a snubby. Where? When?

  10. I also want a snubby. Sadly, even with working at a gunstore, the # of details and a firm release date are not to be found.

  11. To address two of Richard’s concerns:

    “You can’t tell if it’s in single-action mode” — Yes, you can. Look at the trigger; when it’s in single action mode, the trigger will be sitting to the back of the trigger guard vs. where it sits for double action firing.

    “You can’t decock it (he thinks – not sure)” — Again, yes you can. You pull the “hammer” back, engage the trigger and ride the “hammer” forward carefully. It’s just the same as decocking any other revolver OR even a 1911 for that matter(!).

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      1. The Chiappa rep at SHOT couldn’t explain how to tell if the gun was in single action mode. Thanks for the information. As a side note, if that is the only way you can tell if this revolver is in single-action mode, I don’t like it.

      2. I’m not sure who you are quoting on point #2, as I read (and re-read) my article, and I did not print what you attributed to me. As I stated: “To decock the gun, you have to pull the trigger. According to the Chiappa rep, you can hold the exposed “hammer” back, pull the trigger and then lower the exposed hammer as you might on another single action revolver.”

      I do express some concern regarding that method, since the hammer isn’t really a hammer at all, but I did not write what you said I did.

      Thanks again for stopping by.

      –Richard

      • Richard Blair says:

        @John

        I agree with Richard. He may not have quated you exactly, but I feel he definately captured what you were saying in the article. You seem to have a big hang up regarding the “hammer” because it does not work in the traditional manner.

  12. As of late July Chiappa is showing the Rhino revolver with barrel lengths of 2″, 4″, 5″, and 6″. The closest dealer to me is a state away and they have yet to receive their first Rhino.

  13. Get Boberg XR-S instead

    • Rhino –

      Why? How does a semi-auto 9mm pistol compare to a .357 Magnum revolver? I appreciate everyone’s input, but something more than “get gun x” would be appreciated.

      -Richard

      • richard, you have probably had many answers to your question regarding comparing a 9mm to a 357. as you know the 9 will give you alot more shots but the 357 will give you alot more kick/knockdown power. im a retired cop and when i had to make the switch from revolver to auto it nearly cost me my life. two days after switching i happened upon a robbery suspect in his car who immediately and without warning ran over me with his car. i got up as he turned to hit me again and fired three rounds into the windshield directly in front of his face. myy 357 would have ended the matter immediately but the 9 all bounced off and went straight up…….i was hit again and a third time as well, breaking my neck in 3 places and retiring me for good. so it depends on what your doing with you gun!
        Dan
        ps: he did come back to see if i was dead and i shot him through the side window 3 times but that didnt help me any

        • Hi Dan,

          First off, thanks for your service. I’ve carried a badge and gun for more than 10 years, and have been struck by people in cars on the job also: once a car thief, the other just a crazy motorist. So, I definitely have some appreciation for what you went through.

          Windshield glass is one of the tougher obstacles for bullets to have to penetrate. Historically, I agree: the .357 Magnum is likely a better anti-felon cartridge than a 9mm. But, with modern bullet designs (Gold Dot, for example) the 9mm can actually be a better choice for barrier penetration than the traditional .357 loads (the old Remington 125 gr SJHP for example). It sounds like you probably were stuck with the low-performance rounds of the day, which were nowhere near as well designed as they are now.

          Frankly, I don’t care to get into a shooting match, but with the full understanding of what is on the line, I’d carry a 9mm into combat and not worry about how it will perform.

          Thanks again for your service, and sharing your experience.

          -Richard

  14. Has anyone actually fired it yet. If it functions anything like what they say it does on the website all other issues would most assuredly dissolve except for maybe the comment about stiffness in cylinders. Thanks.

    – Castor

  15. joe myers says:

    well i,ll say one thing they sure picked the right caliber

  16. Looks heavy, fragile internally (lots of moving parts) , odd. Usually a death sentence in the american market.

  17. It’s nice to see an innovative revolver like this… I’m definitely considering buying one.

  18. I just read the Guns & Ammo article on this revolver and I want one, very sexy. As to the SA concerns, there is a red indicator on the frame that shows when it is cocked in SA (according to the article)

  19. i like the idea of a new wheelgun,but i’ll wait for some real reviews.then if they work as cool as they look i’ll buy one. remember “don’t jump the gun”

  20. Tom McCord says:

    Guys,

    I have ordered the 2″ version for concealed carry. It should be here by the end of next week. I will look it over and post a review by the middle of March.

  21. Tom McCord says:

    Mine is coming with the grey/black rubber grips. Anyone know how to order a set of factory wood grips?

    • Did you ever end up finding a wood grip. I have a 40DS with the wood grips, and i would like to find someone who would like to trade me their black grips. Let me know if this is a possibility!

      Thanks

  22. The different configuration caught my eye but complicated internal workings and safety vagueness says not for me.

  23. I’ll check back in a few years after the problems are worked out. Seems to be a good idea. Usually new ideas
    have many unforseen problems. For now, I think the traditional revolver route is the best

  24. Ok folks. I bought a stainless 4” model about 3 months ago. All i can say is i love it !!! I first shot 100 rounds of 157gr JHP and was impressed with the reduced recoil… Kicks less than my 6″ Dan Wesson…. As far as the weight,it is very light for a firearm its size. Also, in single action mode there is a small red pin on the left side of the “hammer” that lets you know you are cocked… The only downside is the cost,but i feel it is worth it.

  25. My father in law bought a 5″ 50DS with brown wood grips, he shot it 6 time, didn’t like it , said the trigger was to stiff in double action and had a hard time cocking the hammer back for single action . so we traded hand guns he took my Ruger GP100, 357 , which had a lighter trigger, bigger hammer easier for him to pull back, he likes it. I’ve shot approx 100 round through the Rhino both 357 and 38 spl. all different gr. loads. Shots great , not much recil, and minimal muzzle flip, get right back on target. Within the first 25 shots at 50 ft. all in the black and one took the 10 out of the bulls eye, first ever for me. Have to admitt the trigger is a bit stiff , they say there is a stage 2 trigger kit that will soften the pull some. will be look’n into this kit. Like the gun, just need to find a holster fot it. the wt. of the Rhino feels great , lighter than the GP100. worth the trade.

    • Galco just came out with holsters for all four size Rhinos. I just purchased one from a custom shop because I got tired of waiting. However, the Galco leather holster looks pretty good. Check it out. If that does not work let me know and I will forward the custom makers info. I bought a 4″ white Rhino a little over a year ago and prefer it over all my other 357s, including Ruger, Colt and S&W.

  26. I have owned the 2″ version for almost a year. Trigger is OK, a bit hard to cock the hammer back, but overall, I’m satisfied with the purchase. It did take a while to get accuracy to an acceptable level, but after a few hundred rounds of .38, I switched to .357 with good results. Muzzle flip is significantly reduced.

  27. Hook of the Claw says:

    Talk about ugly. Weren’t these in total recall?

  28. Have had the 4″ white rhino for a little over a year and love it. It is everything and more as advertised. My biggest complaint is that Chiapa for some reason refuses to build a holster that fits my 4″ Rhino. If anyone has a suggestion or found a holster that comes close to fitting it I would like to hear about it.

  29. I had a chance to shoot one of these and I was pretty impressed. The recoil was very soft and the trigger wasn’t bad. It is just ugly as sin..

  30. It’s not a good looker, but I’d like to get my hands on one none the less.

  31. Bottom line…if you want a snub nose revolver that comfortably handles .357, this is pretty much the best choice. Long term reliability remains to be seen. For a full size revolver with a 4 or 6 inch barrel, I’d stick with a Smith or Ruger ( I love my GP100).

  32. I shot a friends Rhino last weekend and I was impressed with how much it did not kick. I don’t know if I want one, but I can say they don’t kick much.

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